NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Despite saying many times he was against the Iraq War in 2002, audio has been unearthed of Donald Trump supporting the U.S. invasion.
BuzzFeed News posted an interview Howard Stern conducted with the billionaire on Sept. 11, 2002 where the shock-jock asked Trump if he supported the war.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Trump said at the time. “I wish the first time it was done correctly.”
On the campaign trail, Trump has been adamant that he was initially against the war and criticized former President George W. Bush for sending U.S. troops into Iraq.
During Thursday’s GOP Town Hall on CNN, Trump responded to his previous comments, saying he could’ve said that.
“That was probably the first time I was ever even asked about the war,” Trump said. “When you’re in the private sector, you get asked things, and you’re not a politician. Yeah, I may have. By the time the war started, I was against it, and shortly thereafter I was really against it.”
Earlier, Trump said that Bush going into Iraq was a “horrible decision.”
“Iraq did not knock down the World Trade Center. Where did these people go when they got on the airplanes? … A lot of them went to Saudi Arabia, they didn’t go back to Iraq, they went to Saudi Arabia. There are sealed documents right now that nobody wants allowed to be open that talk very much about this subject. I’d like to see what it says.”
The former president has joined his brother Jeb Bush out on the campaign trail in an effort to boost the former Florida governor’s lagging poll numbers.
“I understand Americans are angry and frustrated,” George W. Bush said Monday during his first campaign rally for his brother. “But we do not need somebody in the Oval Office who mirrors and inflames our anger and frustration.”
Trump’s rise has confounded the Bush family and its allies. But despite months of predicting the brash billionaire would fade, it’s Jeb Bush whose White House hopes are in peril, particularly if he’s unable to pull out a strong showing in Saturday’s South Carolina primary.
The former president emerged from his self-imposed political hibernation to try to give Bush a President’s Day boost. He layered each validation of his younger brother with an implicit critique of Trump.
He urged voters to back a candidate who will be “measured and thoughtful” on the world stage. A candidate whose “humility” helps him understand what he doesn’t know. A candidate who can win in November’s general election.
“All the sloganeering and all the talk doesn’t matter if we don’t win,” Bush said. “We need somebody who can take a positive message across the country.”
The former president’s return to presidential politics has been met with blistering attacks from Trump about the unpopular Iraq war and the economic recession that began at the end of his administration. Trump has also repeatedly reminded voters that the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks happened on Bush’s watch.
“If the ex-president is campaigning for his brother, I think he’s probably open to great scrutiny, maybe things that haven’t been thought of in the past,” Trump told reporters Monday.
George W. Bush has kept a low profile since leaving the White House in January 2009. He retreated to his home state of Texas, where he picked up painting and delved into work on his presidential library, public health projects in Africa, and events for wounded military service members.
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)